Government says it 'won't abandon' Irish citizens left stranded in Kabul - despite ending evacuation mission

Government says it 'won't abandon' Irish citizens left stranded in Kabul - despite ending evacuation mission

THE Government has promised not to "abandon" the Irish citizens still stuck in Afghanistan, despite ending their evacuation mission at Kabul airport on Thursday.

While 36 people were safely escorted out of the country, it's understood that as many as 60 Irish citizens and their family members are still in need of help, particularly in the wake of the ISIS suicide bombing.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney stressed that the Irish left in Afghanistan will not be left behind as chaos continues to build all over the country.

"It's not over," Minister Coveney said on RTÉ's PrimeTime.

"To families that have family member in Afghanistan, across Afghanistan, mostly in Kabul, I want to send them a very clear message this evening.

"That we are not going to abandon those people. We are going to continue to stay in close contact with them. We're going to work with the international community to find a way out of Afghanistan for people who want to leave.

"Every country in the European Union is like Ireland. There are citizens that weren't able to get out in this evacuation process. Most countries have many, many more citizens in Afghanistan than we have as it happens.

Medical staff move a stretcher to bring injured people for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed multiple people near the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

"But we have about 60 people now who are either Irish citizens, Irish passport holders. Or else family members of someone who has an Irish passport.

"We have another 15 or so people in Afghanistan that are resident in Ireland, with Afghan passports who went home to see a family member".

"Those people we are also going to help as if they are Irish citizens as well."

Minister Coveney said Ireland will look for new opportunities to assist Irish who want to leave the country now that the airport has shut.

He said: "We will look for ways overtime to take opportunities. If the airport reopens, we will of course try to get them out that way.

"If it doesn't, which may be the case, well then we have to look at other options - whether that's land crossings into bordering countries, whether that's Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan or others".

The US and the UK have accelerated their withdrawal from Kabul in the wake of the ISIS-K suicide bombing on Thursday which left at least 85 people dead, including 13 US military personnel.